Ahead of the Spending Review next week, Preet writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak regarding the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the tens of thousands of people across Birmingham and the West Midlands whose employment status has seen them excluded from income support since the beginning of the pandemic.
"These workers are wealth creators, entrepreneurs, and grafters. They are a vital and valued part of our local economy, and should not lose out just because they decided 2020 was the year to take a leap of faith and set up their own business, or a quirk of employment status.
"I am sure you will admit that the Government has not made it easy for self-employed people over the past six months. Frequent changes to local restrictions accompanied by inflexibility in the support schemes, stemming from a failure to keep the virus and R rate under control, has made it extremely difficult to plan ahead, and often impossible to work. The Resolution Foundation think tank found that of those who were self-employed before the crisis, 17% were not working at all in September – with younger and lower-educated workers hit hardest. The financial impact of this for some of my constituents has been devastating, with some spending their life’s savings just to pay the bills, and others coming close to homelessness."
"After a summer of blunders, it is abundantly clear that decisions taken in the Treasury not only impact the public finances and economy, but have a huge influence on the success of the public health response as well. I urge you to reject the false dichotomy between health and the economy, and do what is needed for what we all hope is the final stretch before a vaccine becomes widely available.
"The next six months will be pivotal in our fight against Covid-19 and in setting the trajectory for our economic recovery – and self-employed people have a huge part to play in that national effort. I sincerely hope you will consider the points I have raised above ahead of the Spending Review and take on board the Shadow Chancellor’s recommendations for plugging these gaps in support.
"Depending on the decisions you take this week, some of my constituents are set to face an entire year where they have been unable to support themselves and have gone without the income support afforded others."